On May 28, citizens gathered in Taksim Gezi Park to protest the demolition of one of the area’s last green spaces, set to be used for barracks and a mall. That stand against government bulldozers has since grown into a nationwide movement against what many Turks believe to be an increasingly authoritarian government led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the protesters "looters" and "extremists.” Determined to show that the protests are peaceful and that any violence stems from the excessive force used by police. Police brutality was so shocking that the Turkish deputy prime minister apologized. "The use of excessive force shown against the people who initially started this protest with the motive of protecting the environment was wrong," Bulent Arinc said in a press conference. "And it was unfair. So I apologize to those citizens."
The prime minister's use of the word “looters,” “çapulcu" in Turkish, has sparked a counter-movement by protesters to show their peaceful intentions and actions. This effort got a huge boost from this "Everyday I'm Çapuling!" video showing protesters engaged in peaceful protest. Twitter users have spread the phrase via hashtags, including #çapuling, #capuling, #chappuling, #everydayimcapuling, #everydayimçapuling, and YouTube has given up counting the number of hits, simply showing the number as “301+.”
Despite having revitalized the Turkish economy in the past decade, prime minister Erdogan has taken an increasingly less democratic approach to economic and social reforms, leading many to believe that the country Washington once called an “excellent model” of a post-uprising state in the Arab world has turned into a hollow democracy.